Just because February is the shortest month of the year doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of celebratory days. There are holidays and observances every day in February. Twenty eight reasons to celebrate! I’m not saying there should be cake every day, but I’m not saying there shouldn’t be cake every day, either.
February is African American History Month
Did you know that the Association for the Study of African American Life and History provides a theme for African American History Month each year? For 2021, the theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. Find more information on the ASALH website. Then check out a booklist The Black Family, recent non-fiction titles about the myriad types and experiences of African American family life.
February is The Great American Pie Month
Check out Pie Squared by Cathy Barrow, which contains sweet and savory recipes for ginormous slab pies, baked in 13×9 inch pans, or The Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott, which is “a practical guide to homemade crusts, fillings and life. Then enjoy some of your homemade pie and listen to Don McLean’s American Pie, which at 8:36 is still the longest pop song to grace Billboard’s Top 100. Find other facts about the song in this article.
National Freedom Day
Check out Freedom Summer for Young People by Bruce Watson, a look at the 1964 Civil Rights campaign spearheaded by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
National Dark Chocolate Day
Check out Ruth Graves Wakefield: One Smart Cookie by Sarah Howden, a children’s biography of the inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, who traded her recipe for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
National Serpent Day
Check out Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust, a fantasy tale about a young girl who is poisonous to touch. Or perhaps try The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, a novel about a young widow who investigates the reappearance of a fearsome beast in 1893 England.
National Baked Alaska Day
Check out Last Licks by Cynthia Baxter, a cozy mystery set in an ice cream shop. Includes recipes for affogato and baked Alaska.
Check out Groundhog Day, the now-classic movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Or maybe you’d prefer the picture book Groundhug Day by Anne Marie Pace.
National Hedgehog Day
Check out The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog by Paul B. Janeczko, a collection of 33 how-to poems for children.
National Tater Tot Day
The history of the yummy, crispy little potato bites is a story of American ingenuity, frugality, and not a little hubris. Read more here and here.
National Ukulele Day
Learn how to make an electric ukulele and more DIY musical instruments in Junkyard Jam Band by David Erik Nelson.
National Missing Persons Day
Check out The Cold Vanish by Jon Billman, true-life accounts of wilderness disappearances that “defy conventional logic”, or Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid, a “true story of racism, indifference, and the pursuit of justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls”.
National Carrot Cake Day
Check out The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman, a very short children’s book that solves the mystery of Miss Rabbit’s snatched carrot cake!
National Golden Retriever Day
Check out I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak, the story of a boy and his elderly, arthritic golden who enter a canine freestyle dance contest in an effort to save their family. Dean Koontz features a golden in his suspense ficiton titles Watchers and The Darkest Evening of the Year. But he also wrote A Big Little Life, a memoir of Trixie, a retired service dog from Canine Companions for Independence.
The United Service Organization has been providing services and entertainment to active U.S. military men and women since 1941.
World Cancer Day
Check out The Cancer Code by Jason Fung, which provides a radical new paradigm for understanding cancer. Or, perhaps The End of the Beginning by Michael S. Kinch, a fascinating history of cancer “as we are on the cusp of a breakthrough for a cure”. Then watch Serendipity, a DVD documentary directed by Prune Nourry, who turns her diagnosis of breast cancer into an epic artistic adventure.
National Homemade Soup Day
Check out this trio of soup cookbooks: Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther, Superfood Soups by Julie Morris, and The Soup Cleanse by Angela Blatteis.
National Weatherperson’s Day
Check out The Weather Machine by Andrew Blum, which goes behind the scenes of weather forecasting, and The Weather Experiment by Peter Moore, a history of weather forecasting. Also try Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson, about one of the earliest weather forecasters who tragically missed the signs of a deadly hurricane.
World Nutella Day
Check out the official Nutella website for fun facts, recipes, and inspiration.
National Wear Red Day
Check out Red: the History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau, for the surprising history of the color of love, lust, anger — and privilege.
Pay a Compliment Day
Check out The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith, the 4th installment in the “Isabel Dalhousie” fiction series.
National Frozen Yogurt Day
Check out sixteen yummy recipes for homemade fro-yo from Country Living. Or take a look at Homemade Yogurt and Kefir by Gianaclis Caldwell or Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule for some healthier alternatives to the sugary goodness of fro-yo.
National Take Your Child to the Library Day
Celebrated the first Saturday in February, the initiative was launched in 2011 by two Connecticut public library librarians. Public libraries can’t wait to re-open to the public so that every day can be take your child to the library day! Find out more about the 10th anniversary celebration here. February is also Library Lovers Month. Want to show your library some love? Consider joining The Friends of the Richmond Public Library.
National Send a Card to a Friend Day
Check out The World of PostSecret by Frank Warren, about Warren’s post card community art project that “captured the popular imagination and became a worldwide obsession. Then, just for fun, take a look at the booklist Epistolary Fiction – novels in the form of letters, notes, and other correspondence.
Check out Chasing the Rose by Andrea Di Robilant, the author’s quest to discover the identity of the wild pink roses growing on his family’s former country estate. Then try Iron Fire and Ice by Ed West, which explains how the real War of the Roses inspired George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.
Fettuccine Alfredo Day
Check out this article about the origins of the eponymous dish – created by an Italian restaurateur (named Alfred) as a mild but delicious pasta dish to alleviate his pregnant wife’s nausea.
National Kite Flying Day
Check out a couple of picture books featuring kite flying on windy days that turn stormy: Kite Day by Will Hillenbrand, featuring Bear and Mole off to fly the kite they built; or, maybe Storm, a lovely picture book about a boy and his granddad who are off to fly a kite, despite the weather. If you want to make your own kite, check out Instructables for step-by-step instructions for making kites – from simple, easy kites to the sublimely complex.
Check out A Mad Love by Vivien Schweitzer for in introduction to this “visceral and emotional” art form.
Read in the Bathtub Day
Every day is read in the bathtub day at my house! I just wish my tub was a little more … luxe. Check out these books for DIY tips and inspiration for upgrading your bathroom: Taunton’s Bathroom Idea Book, Black & Decker’s Complete Guide to Bathrooms and Easy Upgrades: Bathrooms.
National Clean Out Your Computer Day
National Pizza Day and The Great American Pizza Bake (Feb. 8-14)
Check out My Pizza by Jim Lahey for easy, no-knead, spectacular pizza at home. Then kids of all ages can giggle over both the book and the DVD of Adam Verner’s Secret Pizza Party.
National Bagels and Lox Day (not to be confused with National Bagel Day on January 15th)
Enjoy bagels and lox (or bagels with lots of other fillings and toppings) to go from Nate’s Bagels.
National Umbrella Day
Check out Jonas Hanway’s Scurrilous, Scandalous, Shockingly Sensational Umbrella by Josh Crute for a fun look at the man who introduced umbrellas to London in the 1750s.
Check out Teddy Bear Centennial Book by Linda Mullins, which commemorates 100 years of teddy bears. You can find out how Theodore Roosevelt came to have a stuffed toy named after him, and see a picture of the very first teddy, now in the Smithsonian, in this article, or this one from the National Park Service.
National Inventors’ Day
Check out Inventology by Pagan Kennedy – a book that uses the stories of inventors and surprising research to reveal the steps that produce innovation. Or maybe try Weird & Wacky Inventions by Jim Murphy, a guessing game book of patents for some rather … offbeat gadgets.
National Make a Friend Day and Friendship Month
Check out Friendship by Lydia Denworth, a look at the “evolution, biology, and extraordinary power of life’s fundamental bond”. Also try Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow from the hit podcast “Call Your Girlfriend”.
Get Out Your Guitar Day
Check out Guitar: the World’s Most Seductive Instrument by David Schiller – a look at 200 guitars in full-color glory. Then you might want to get the DVD Learn to Play – Acoustic Guitar by Jessica Baron, with 34 lessons for beginners.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Check out Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Traiblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs. Or try the juvenile series “Superwomen in STEM” for stories of women scientists in medicine, math, life science, chemistry, and more.
International Darwin Day
Check out The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin’s journal of his five-year journey around the world that led to his theory of evolution, and his master work Origin of Species. Or if you’d prefer more about the man himself, check out Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker by A.N. Wilson.
World Radio Day
Check out these two novels about radio personalities: Ten Rules For Faking it by Sophie Sullivan – a funny novel about a lovelorn radio producer who is determined that this year, her birthday won’t suck; and A Little Bit of Karma by ReShonda Tate Billingsley – a power couple with a call-in radio show are on the brink of losing everything. Then take a look at A Fox Found a Box by Ged Adamson, a picture book about a fox who finds a radio.
Originating with season 2, episode 16 of Parks and Recreation, the day has morphed into a celebration of women friends, besties, BFFs, and more.
National Tortellini Day
Check out Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore – a novel about a vicious crime that happened on Valentine’s Day, and the lingering effects on a small Texas oil town. Then enjoy The Valentine is Missing! a delightful picture book by Cynthia Platt that solves the mystery surrounding a teacher’s missing valentine.
International Flirting Week
Check out How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams – a buttoned up professor tries an evening of flirtation, which seems to have worked, but with possibly disastrous consequences. If you prefer a “how-to” manual, take a look at Flirting 101: How to Charm Your Way to Love, Friendship, and Success by Michelle Lewis.
National Organ Donor Day
Richmond is the home of UNOS, The United Network for Organ Sharing. You can sign up to be an organ donor, giving hope to the 108,332 people in the country waiting for an organ transplant. You may also register as an organ donor through your Virginia drivers license. Find more information at the DMV‘s website. Then check out Some of the Parts by Hannah Rodgers Barnaby – a novel of a teenaged girl on a quest after her brother’s death to find the recipients of his donated organs.
(or, for many of us “Discount Candy Day”!)
National Gumdrop Day
A day just for pectin-based, granulated sugar-coated, dome-shaped candy? I say “goody goody gumdrops“!
Singles Awareness Day and National Marriage Week (2/8-2/14)
Check out Single. On Purpose, a guide from John Kim (“The Angry Therapist”) on prioritizing your relationship with yourself and living a more meaningful life. Then take a look at Matrimony, Inc. by Francesca Beauman, a look at American mate selection “from personal ads to swiping right”.
(note: all city offices, including all branches of the Richmond Public Library, are closed February 15th in observance of Presidents Day.
Do a Grouch a Favor Day
Since Random Acts of Kindness Week is the 3rd week in February, check out the RAKW website for tips on how to be nice to the grouchy people in your orbit.
National Almond Day
National Cabbage Day
Check out Ruffage by Abra Berens – a practical guide to cooking cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. Then take a look at Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murray – a picture book about sleepy vegetables.
National Cafe au Lait Day
It’s different than a latte or a flat white. Cafe au Lait is a combination of hot coffee and steamed milk. Check out an easy recipe from The Spruce. Or you could head to Starbuck’s – but be sure to ask for a Caffe Misto.
National Battery Day
Check out The Battery by Henry Schlesinger – which tells the tale of how portable power sparked a technological revolution.
National Drink Wine Day
Maybe a trip to a winery is in your future. Much of Virginia is conducive to wine growing. Check out this A-Z directory of Virginia Wineries or this Virginia Wineries map.
National Chocolate Mint Day
Take a look at this 1979 commercial for York Peppermint Patties. Get the sensation!
National Caregivers Day
Caring for a loved one can be a terribly hard but rewarding journey. Virginia’s Department of Aging, Rehabilitative & Disability Resources and SeniorNavigator both offer local help and information for caregivers and caregiving. Then take a look at the booklist Adult Children, Aging Parents for books about swapping roles with dignity, humor, and respect.
National Love Your Pet Day
Check out My Cat Looks Like My Dad – a delightful cut-paper collage picture book by Thao Lam. Then take a look at this pet-friendly booklist for books on pet health care, dog training, and yes, the human-pet bond.
National Muffin Day
Check out Happiness is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies by Maida Heatter. While you wait for your muffins to bake, check out a baker’s dozen (and more) of odd, amusing, and whimsical little videos from Muffin Films.
National Sticky Bun Day
February is also National Bake for the Family Fun Month and National Hot Breakfast Month, so baking sticky buns for your family should cover all the bases. Check out Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoe Francois for sweet and decadent inspiration.
Be Humble Day
World Thinking Day
The library has lots of books with the subject heading “thought and thinking”. Check out Chatter: the Voice in Our Head, Why it Matters, and How to Harness it by Ethan Kross or Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen. Or maybe you want to read about some great thinkers from history – try Time of the Magicians by Wolfram Eilenberger – a book about Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger, and “the decade that reinvented philosophy”.
National Margarita Day
Check out Mikhail and Margarita, a novel that invents a fictional mistress for a real writer, and imagines a visit to Moscow by Satan.
National Banana Bread Day
There are lots of variations in banana bread recipes, but they all start with those overripe bananas in your fruit bowl. Try this recipe for banana bread with a maple glaze from The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
World Spay Day
Don’t contribute to the heart-breaking problem of pet overpopulation. Have your male dogs and cats neutered, and your female dogs and cats spayed. The SPCA’s Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital offers “quality care at reduced cost to pets in the Greater Richmond region”.
National Tortilla Chip Day
Your favorite Mexican restaurant is probably offering take-out or delivery. Be sure to include an order (or two!) of chips!
National Chocolate Covered Nut Day
In the mid-1700s Williams Parks printed a copy of Eliza Smith’s cookbook The Compleat Housewife which contained a recipe for “chocolate almonds”. The Library of Virginia owns a copy of the cookbook in their special collections. You can see a picture of the book here.
Let’s All Eat Right Day
National Clam Chowder Day
National Pancake Day
Check out OMG Pancakes! by Jim Belosic to learn how to make really fun flapjacks! Then enjoy the picture book Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk.
Tell a Fairy Tale Day
Find inspiration from the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Long a favorite with librarians, the National Storytelling Festival is held every October. Then take a look at two booklists of fairy tale fiction for adults: Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tales, Re-mixed and Once Upon a Time, Again: More Fairy Tales, Re-mixed. Then, soothe yourself with this video showing the restoration of a very old book of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. Take a look at this soothing video of a very old book of fairy tales being restored. Also, be sure to subscribe to RPL’s YouTube channel for virtual storytimes and more!
National Pistachio Day
Check out Princess Pistachio by Marie-Louise Gay, a children’s book about a girl named Pistachio, who learns what being a princess is really about.
No Brainer Day
International Polar Bear Day
Check out this trio of children’s books about polar bears: I Wish I Was a Polar Bear by Jennifer Bove, The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond, and Polar Bear Babies by Susan Ring.
National Chili Day
National Chocolate Souffle Day
National Science Day
Check out To Explain the World by Steven Weinberg – a commentary on the history of science. Then check out Mammoth Science by David Macaulay – an oddball introduction to scientific principles for kids (and kids-at-heart).
Check out our Online Resources page for access to digital books, movies, music, magazines and so much more. You will need your Richmond Public Library card to access this premium content. Don’t have a library card? Visit the Get a Card page for more information.
Stuck in a reading rut? Looking to read outside your comfort zone? If you want hand-crafted reading suggestions, check out The Bookologist – a bespoke readers advisory service for adults, teens, and kids.